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Topics - Bilbo

Main / "The Siren Song of Sex with Boys"
Dec 11, 2007, 07:45 PM
Did you hear the good news?  It turns out that women are not accountable for any of their actions anymore!  Between this article and the recent clemency granted to 21 women in Kentucky for killing their husbands in "self defense", there really seems to be no reason to arrest women for anything any longer.  In fact, it's probably become a waste of taxpayers' money.
Nowhere in this article does the author suggest that men having sex with teens girls should also be seen as acceptable.  Nowhere.

Kentucky article:


December 11, 2005
Ideas & Trends
The Siren Song of Sex With Boys

WHEN Sandra Beth Geisel, a former Catholic schoolteacher, was sentenced to six months in jail last month for having sex with a 16-year-old student, she received sympathy from a surprising source.

The judge, Stephen Herrick of Albany County Court in New York, told her she had "crossed the line" into "totally unacceptable" behavior. But, he added, the teenager was a victim in only the strictly legal sense. "He was certainly not victimized by you in any other sense of the word," the judge said. The prosecutor and a lawyer for the boy's family called the judge's comments outrageous. But is it possible that the 16-year-old wasn't really harmed?

The last few months have produced a spate of cases where women are prosecuted for having sex with boys: Debra LaFave of Florida, another teacher, faces trial for sleeping with a 14-year-old student; Lisa Lynette Clark of Georgia was impregnated by her son's 15-year-old friend, whom she married a day before she was arrested; Silvia Johnson of Colorado was sentenced to 30 years for having sex with teenagers and providing drugs and alcohol.

Certainly no one doubts that a teacher who has sex with her students should lose her job. Or that a 37-year-old mother should not find herself pregnant by her son's 15-year-old friend. Or that a 41-year-old mother who provides sex, drugs and alcohol to teenagers so she can be cool among her daughter's friends is troubled.

But when the women face prison, questions are raised about where to set the age of consent. And because many of those named as victims refused to testify against the women in what they said were consensual relationships, not everyone agrees that the cases involve child abuse.

"We need to untangle the moral issues from the psychological issues from the legal issues," said Carol Tavris, the author of "The Mismeasure of Women" and a social psychologist. "That's the knot." She added: "You may not like something, but does that mean it should be illegal? If we have laws that are based on moral notions and developmental notions that are outdated, do we need to change the laws?"

Though it might seem that way from the headlines, women having sex with teenage boys is not new. A federal Department of Education study called "Educator Sexual Misconduct," released last year, found that 40 percent of the educators who had been reported for sexual misconduct with students were women.

Charol Shakeshaft, the author of the study and a professor of education at Hofstra University, said that even when the woman is not a teacher, the relationships are not healthy. "A 16-year-old is just not fully developed," she said. "Male brains tend to develop the part that can make decisions about whether it is a wise thing to do later."

Prosecutions of women have been rising slightly in the last several years, said David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire. Mr. Finkelhor says he believes that the scandal involving sexual abuse by priests called more attention to cases with teachers and other authority figures. But the cases also reflect a decline in the double standard applied to men and women, brought on, he said, by increasing numbers of female prosecutors and police officers who may not buy into the traditional notion that a boy who has sex with an older woman just got lucky.

But several studies have raised questions about whether the recent cases should be filed under child sex abuse.

The most controversial study was published in 1998 in Psychological Bulletin. The article, a statistical re-analysis of 59 studies of college students who said they were sexually abused in childhood, concluded that the effects of such abuse "were neither pervasive nor typically intense, and that men reacted much less negatively than women."

The researchers questioned the practice, common in many studies, of lumping all sexual abuse together. They contended that treating all types equally presented problems that, they wrote, "are perhaps most apparent when contrasting cases such as the repeated rape of a 5-year-old girl by her father and the willing sexual involvement of a mature 15-year-old adolescent boy with an unrelated adult."
See!  All statutory rapes committed by men are on 5 year old girls.  Whereas those vixen female rapists only assault teens.  All better!

In the first case, serious harm may result, the article said, but the second case "may represent only a violation of social norms with no implication for personal harm."

They suggested substituting the term "adult adolescent sex" for child abuse in some cases where the sex was consensual.

"Abuse implies harm in a scientific usage, and the term should not be in use if there is consent and no evidence of harm," said Bruce Rind, an author of the study and a psychology professor at Temple University.

This view could prove a hard sell, politically and legally. The article in Psychological Bulletin was roundly criticized by prominent conservatives and denounced in Congress, as was the judge in Ms. Geisel's case. In 2003, Bruce Gaeta, a New Jersey judge, was reprimanded by the state's highest court for characterizing an encounter between a 43-year-old female teacher and a 13-year-old boy who had been a student as "just something between two people that clicked beyond the teacher-student relationship."

Pamela Rogers Turner, a Tennessee teacher, was sentenced in August to nine months in jail for sex with a 13-year-old boy.

Thirteen? Professor Rind and others agree that that is too low to set the age of consent, making 12 truly out of bounds - the age of Vili Fualaau when he began having sex with the most infamous of the teachers in sex scandals, Mary Kay Letourneau. (The fact that a decade later the two are married and even registered for china at Macy's has not changed anyone's mind.)

But Professor Rind and others point out that Canada and about half of Europe have set the age of consent at 14 after recommendations by national commissions. To set it much higher, as most states do, they say, ignores the research, and the hormones.

Even those who argue for more protection of children agree that the laws in this country can be arbitrary. In Ms. Geisel's case, she was caught first with a 17-year-old student, but because he was of legal age, she was charged only after his 16-year-old friend came forward and said they had taken turns having sex. Can a few months make such a difference?

"I'm torn, I don't know," Professor Shakeshaft said. "Teachers are always wrong. And it would be my belief that people aren't formed by 16. On the other hand, my mother married my father at 16 and they were married 65 years."

Professor Finkelhor agrees that there is variability among cases and teenagers but says it's better to err on the side of safety.

Does anybody know anything about this organization?  Their headline reads "Time to bridge the gender gap, says the Heart and Stroke Foundation", regarding heart attack and stroke deaths for men and women, but then their own numbers actually show a lower mortality rate for women, even though they are more than 50% of the population.  Feminists have become so shameless, they'll now raise hysteria toward women's health even when their own research contradicts their claims!


Time to bridge the gender gap, says the Heart and Stroke Foundation

When it comes to heart disease and stroke, Canadian women's progress has not kept pace with men's, according to the 2007 Heart and Stroke Foundation Annual Report on Canadians' Health. Research shows that, compared to a man, a woman's risk of dying following a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack or stroke is higher, women are less likely to be treated by a specialist, are less likely to be transferred to another facility for treatment, and less likely to undergo cardiac catheterization or revascularization.

"It's a real concern that women's heart health has not kept pace with men's," says Dr. Beth Abramson, cardiologist and spokesperson for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. "There has been some progress in closing the gender gap, but when it comes to Canada's leading cause of death, there are women who may be under-served on the front lines compared to men."

For years, it was assumed that care differences occurred because women tended to be older and sicker at the point they were hospitalized. But recent analysis shows that even when you control for age and other health conditions, a women's risk of dying within the first 30 days is 16% higher for heart attack, and 11% higher for stroke, than a man's[1]. The reasons for this are unclear - contributing factors may be systemic, social, and biological - but answers need to be found.

Further, the Heart and Stroke Foundation reveals that for the first time in 30 years, women have caught up to men when it comes to the number of deaths from cardiovascular disease.

Number of Deaths From Heart Disease and Stroke: Women vs. Men, 1973 to 2003

Number of deaths from cardiovascular disease, Statistics Canada

In 1973, there were 23% fewer female than male deaths from heart disease and stroke (34,924 female deaths vs. 45,404 male deaths). By 2003, the number of male deaths had fallen (by 19%, to 37,004), while the number of female deaths increased (by 5% to 36,823). For the first time, the number of deaths from heart disease and stroke combined is virtually the same between women and men (36,823 vs. 37,004).

(For those of you who are mathematically challenged, 36,823 is now greater than 37,004)

"Canadians have this cozy misperception that having a heart attack or stroke is no longer a big deal - that you can be hospitalized, treated, and return home good as new," says Dr. Abramson. "But the reality for a lot of people - particularly for women - is very different.

"Almost 37,000 Canadian women will die of heart disease and stroke this year, and women have a higher risk of dying after a heart attack or stroke. We need to better understand why, and this inequity needs to be addressed. This is a serious health issue for Canadian women."

Other findings include:

    * In 1973, there were twice as many male than female deaths from heart attacks (20,680 vs. 10,539). Although men continue to lead in heart attack deaths, by 2003, the gap had closed: male deaths dropped by 49% to 10,643 but female deaths had dropped only 24% to 8,019.

    * Not enough Canadians are referred to a cardiologist following a heart attack and women fare more poorly than men. Only 32% of women see a cardiologist after a heart attack, compared with 38% of men. Seeing a specialist is important - when you account for age and other conditions, the risk of dying is 47% lower for patients treated by a cardiologist[2].

    * In 1973, there were 10% more female than male deaths from stroke (8,523 female deaths vs. 7,702 male deaths). By 2003, the number of female deaths from stroke had climbed to 8,951 while the number of male deaths dropped (to 6,332). As a result, in 2003 there were 41% more female than male deaths from stroke.

    * Studies have shown that at all ages, women have a higher in-hospital mortality rates following heart attack than men (see Table 1).

    * Women also have lower rates of undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery and angioplasty (a non-surgical procedure to reopen blocked coronary arteries; see Table 2).
I found this to be just disgusting.  It's one thing to be relieved when a loved one passes away after suffering through a horrible disease and I can kind of see a person's relief when an abusive parent  passes away.  But this is different.  Here you have a 27 year old woman so relieved to get off her chest the fact that she was relieved when her perfectly healthy 31 year old husband, from whom she had just filed for divorce, died a violent death in a car crash.  Because, ya know, the divorce wasn't enough? He didn't deserve to live?  He had to die a violent death in order for her to attain some closure on their relationship...or, more accurately, her own narcissism.
Then she actually goes on and tries to compare it to the deaths of the terminally ill or an extremely ill baby dying.   Disgusting. 

My Turn: The Stage of Grief No One Admits To--Relief
When my husband was killed in an accident, I refused to let society dictate how I should grieve.
By Jennifer Elison

Jan. 29, 2007 issue - I'm so sorry. we did everything we could." The surgeon's haggard face proved his words. My 31-year-old husband was dead, killed in a car accident on his way home from work. Doctors and nurses gathered around me, ready to catch me if I fell.

Then convention took over, and I found my voice. "Thawnk you," I said to the surgeon, taking his hands in mine, "for everything you did to try to save him." Mechanically, I turned to the next set of hands, and the next, thanking each person as they all watched me warily. I'm sure they thought that as soon as the words sank in, I'd fall to the ground.

I was in shock. But I was also aware of a bewildering mix of sadness, anger and, as hard as it was to admit, overwhelming relief. The truth was, I had been unhappy in my marriage for several years and had kept up appearances as I tried to salvage our floundering relationship. I was initially very confused about what to do with the feelings I was having. I was equally aware, even in those earliest moments, that I must be careful to act like a grieving widow, and hide my relief from a world that would surely misunderstand. It was the beginning of a masquerade I would carry on for the next two years.

From the outside, my husband and I had an ideal marriage. He was the successful young doctor and I was his lucky wife. People would never have guessed that I would have traded my "luck" for their unhappiness any day. My husband had rigid and unreasonable expectations of how a proper doctor's wife should look and act. He forbade me to go back to work or to school after the birth of our daughter. He belittled me, never treating me as his equal. Preoccupied with appearances, he always put my feelings last.

I was only 27, and couldn't face the prospect of spending the rest of my life in a failed and unhappy marriage. One day in February of 1985, I told him I wanted a divorce. The next day he was dead, killed almost instantly when his compact car was hit by a semi truck on a dark stretch of highway.

Years later, in my counseling practice, I encountered others experiencing losses like mine, losses in which the predominant emotion was relief. But I, their counselor, was the only one they felt safe admitting it to. To be glad someone is dead is a powerful taboo in our culture, and when the bereaved don't hew to society's expectations, they are ridiculed, feared and shunned--the last thing someone grieving, however "nontraditionally," needs. Americans have adopted the "five stages of grief" as a straitjacket, an edict on how to grieve, and woe unto the person whose behavior doesn't fit the mold.

But there are many reasons that someone might feel relief when someone dies. Mental illness and addictions can turn the person you love into a monster. One woman told me that she'd loved her husband only when he was sober. Often a family member is adept at presenting one face to the world and quite another to his family, much as my husband was. "I felt like I'd wandered into the wrong funeral," a woman exclaimed after her abusive, alcoholic brother died. She was stunned by the scores of flower arrangements and effusive tributes.

Relief when a child dies feels particularly shameful, yet who could criticize the couple whose baby, if he had lived, would have required round-the-clock nursing care? Or the mother whose severely mentally retarded preteen daughter died during an epileptic seizure? A woman whose mentally ill teenage son committed suicide still grieves the brilliant child she raised, but doesn't miss lying awake wondering if this would be the night the phone would ring with grim news.

And then there are those who suffered from chronic physical illness: the cancer that kept recurring, the Alzheimer's victims who had died inside years earlier when they stopped recognizing family members. Pain control during terminal illness is still inexact at best, causing both the dying and their families untold suffering. At the dawn of the 21st century, we're very good at prolonging life but not quality of life. One woman described her mother's death from a series of strokes: "She went through hell, and she took us with her."

It may make us uncomfortable, or even anger us, but we must realize that it's never our place to force someone to grieve in a way that we find acceptable. When someone dies, the bereaved family members must be forgiven if they are pleased to be getting their lives back, even if they can't say it out loud.

Elison lives in Helena, Mont.



January 14, 2007
Equal Cheers for Boys and Girls Draw Some Boos

WHITNEY POINT, N.Y. -- Thirty girls signed up for the cheerleading squad this winter at Whitney Point High School in upstate New York. But upon learning they would be waving their pompoms for the girls' basketball team as well as the boys', more than half of the aspiring cheerleaders dropped out.

The eight remaining cheerleaders now awkwardly adjust their routines for whichever team is playing here on the home court -- "Hands Up You Guys" becomes "Hands Up You Girls"-- to comply with a new ruling from federal education officials interpreting Title IX, the law intended to guarantee gender equality in student sports.

"It feels funny when we do it," said Amanda Cummings, 15, the cheerleading co-captain, who forgot the name of a female basketball player mid-cheer last month.

Whitney Point is one of 14 high schools in the Binghamton area that began sending cheerleaders to girls' games in late November, after the mother of a female basketball player in Johnson City, N.Y., filed a discrimination complaint with the United States Department of Education. She said the lack of official sideline support made the girls seem like second-string, and violated Title IX's promise of equal playing fields for both sexes.

But the ruling has left many people here and across the New York region booing, as dozens of schools have chosen to stop sending cheerleaders to away games, as part of an effort to squeeze all the home girls' games into the cheerleading schedule.

Boys' basketball boosters say something is missing in the stands at away games, cheerleaders resent not being able to meet their rivals on the road, and even female basketball players being hurrahed are unhappy.

In Johnson City, students and parents say they have accepted the change even as they question the need for it.

Several cheerleaders there recalled a game two years ago, long before the complaint, when the squad decided at the last minute to cheer for the girls' team because a boys' game was canceled.

The cheers drowned out directions from the girls' coach, frustrated the players, and created so much tension that the cheerleaders left before halftime.

"They asked, 'Why are you here?' " recalled Joquina Spence, 18, a senior cheerleader. "We told them, 'We're here to support you,' and it was a problem because they kept yelling at us."

But, as the New York State Public High School Athletic Association warned in a letter to its 768 members in November, the education department determined that cheerleaders should be provided "regardless of whether the girls' basketball teams wanted and/or asked for" them.

The ruling followed a similar one in September in the Philadelphia suburbs, and comes as high schools nationwide are redefining the role of cheerleaders in response to parental and legal pressures as well as growing sensitivity to sexism among athletic directors, especially as more women step into those roles.

Federal education officials would not specify how many Title IX complaints concerning cheerleading the Office for Civil Rights is investigating. But a spokesman said the department received 64 complaints nationwide last year concerning unequal levels of publicity given to girls' and boys' teams -- which includes the issue of cheerleading -- most from New York state. That compares with a total of 28 such complaints over the previous four years.

In September, the Prince George's County, Md., public schools agreed to provide publicity equally for its male and female athletes, including cheerleaders at competitive events, as part of a lengthy list of changes after the National Women's Law Center raised Title IX complaints against the 134,000-student district.

Last February, a statewide group of physical education teachers in California called for cheerleaders to attend girls' and boys' games "in the same number, and with equal enthusiasm" as part of its five-year goals.

And for the first time this fall at Westborough High school in the Boston suburbs, cheerleaders were provided for all the varsity athletic teams, including girls' field hockey and volleyball. "In our minds, there's no major or minor sports," said Brian Callaghan, Westborough's athletic director.

Here in the Binghamton area, three schools named in the original complaint -- two in Elmira, N.Y., and one in Horseheads -- are rebelling against the ruling, in the latest in a series of arguments over fulfilling the requirements of Title IX, which has been a source of contention among educators, athletes and feminists alike since its adoption in 1972.

James Young, a lawyer for the Horseheads Central School District, said cheerleaders there compete in their own tournaments and are not seen as support players. He noted that the "Rowdy Raiders" pep group is already dispatched to cheer for boys' and girls' teams alike.

"We regard our cheerleaders as athletes, while they are working on a 1970s stereotype that cheerleaders are here to support the boys," Mr. Young said of the education department's ruling. "We have a really solid women's athletics program and we support it our way."

Richard T. Stank, president of the Southern Tier Athletic Conference, which represents the 17 schools in the Binghamton area named in the complaint, said even some of the school officials and coaches complying with the ruling question its validity. "I don't see how cheerleaders having to be at boys' and girls' games is what Title IX was set up to do," he said.

Under Title IX, all schools and colleges that receive federal money are prohibited from gender discrimination in any area, from academics to athletics. The education department has interpreted that mandate to mean, among other things, that girls' and boys' teams must receive equal treatment, from the salaries of their coaches to the condition of their locker rooms.

Intended to expand opportunities for female athletes, Title IX essentially requires schools and colleges to spend equivalent amounts on men's and women's sports programs. But some Title IX supporters complain that some schools have twisted the letter of the law to skirt its spirit, cutting lower-profile men's sports like wrestling or swimming to offset the costs of football rather than adding women's teams. But others complain that the law has expanded women's teams of limited interest at the expense of more popular boys' teams.

Cheerleading has long been a source of contention. Some women's sports advocates complain that schools count it as a varsity sport as a sneaky way to increase the numbers of the female side of the athletic department balance sheet without changing historic disparities. Others see the varsity letters as a mark of respect for the athletic and acrobatic feats the squads perform.

So while the complaint that originated here was based on whether the boys and girls basketball players were being treated equally, the ruling has renewed questions about cheerleaders' status.

Rosie Pudish, the parent who filed the original complaint, said she did so even though her own daughter, Keri, a varsity basketball player at Johnson City High School, did not particularly want cheerleaders at her games.

Ms. Pudish said that as many as 60 cheerleaders, along with their friends and parents, would attend the boys' games, injecting a level of excitement and spirit that was missing from the girls' contests.

"It sends the wrong message that girls are second-class athletes and don't deserve the school spirit, that they're just little girls playing silly games and the real athletes are the boys," said Ms. Pudish, an accountant who works for the federal government.

At most high schools, including those in New York City and its suburbs, cheerleaders traditionally follow the boys' basketball and football games, and only occasionally root for other teams -- like girls' basketball -- if a playoff berth or a championship is at stake.

So far, no one here has suggested that football cheerleaders have to show up for field hockey games next fall. But the education department ruled that if the Binghamton-area schools provided cheerleaders for boys' basketball games, then they must provide them on the same terms for girls' basketball.

To comply, nearly all of the schools have decided to send cheerleaders to an equal number of boys' and girls' games, and only at home to avoid overloading the cheerleaders' schedules. That drew complaints from cheerleaders who liked traveling to away games -- and from boys' basketball players and fans who were left cheer-less half the time.

"It's probably toughest on some of the parents," said John Allen, athletic director of the Chenango Valley Central School District, just northeast of Binghamton. "All of a sudden they're at games, and there are no cheerleaders."

At a small school like Whitney Point, with 525 students, the ruling has devastated a cheerleading program that had just begun to rebound after being eliminated in budget cuts in 2002. Some of the girls who dropped out just did not want to cheer for other girls, while others said the team was not as fun without traveling to away games and being able to check out routines by rival cheerleading teams. (Since most schools in the league are complying with the ruling by keeping cheerleaders on their home courts, the squads are now left to rah-rah without response.)

The girls' basketball players complained about the change, too; the coach asked cheerleaders to stay on the bench at crucial moments during the first few games so as not to distract his players. But after an awkward start, the girls have settled into a routine of sorts, and have posed together for post-game pictures.

Katelin Maxson, 17, a senior who is the cheerleading captain, said that while she does not mind cheering for the girls, it has doubled her workload: She has continued the tradition here of decorating the lockers of the basketball players on game days and bringing them treats.

"We joined sports to have fun, but they're basically taking the fun away and giving us more work," she said. "The interest is down so much, and it's going to keep dropping, until there's no cheerleading anymore."
Does anybody watch this guy?  I've caught his show a few times, but his immature drama-queen arrogance usually repels me pretty quickly i.e.  "Have you no decency, Sir?"  Hrrmph!   Copycat.Wanker.  
Anyway, I was reading a piece on KO about his rant over Donald Rumsfeld's equating dissenters of the Iraq war with Nazi appeasers.  I guess both sides have some valid arguments in that debate, but I just busted out laughing at this ridiculous assertion of his:

"No one has the right to say that about any free-speaking American in this country."

wtf?  How did that one slip by the editors, or was KO just waxing philosophical?  lol
Um, don't all free-speaking Americans in this country have the right to say that about any free-speaking Americans in this country?  Unbelievable.
I wish the MSM would make up their mind.  Are women superior to men, or do they require special attention.  My bad, I guess its both.
This was too good to pass up.  First, msnbc posts an article telling how bad women have it- nothing new there.  But then they include a link in the very same article on a study that appears to contradict the first article in a lot of ways.  And when you read the negative impact on the two groups, it would appear that men have it quite a bit worse.  I highlighted one of the apparent contradictions.  Granted, the studies were performed by 2 different groups.
Now, the two articles do use slightly different terms- long hours v high stress work.  But I have always kinda thought the two were fairly closely correlated.  You generally don't work long hours unless you have a heavy workload...with deadlines...and stress.


Working long hours worse for women than men
More likely to smoke and eat junk food, study finds

Updated: 10:03 a.m. PT July 12, 2006
LONDON - Working long hours has a greater negative impact on women than men because it makes them more likely to smoke, drink coffee and eat unhealthy food.

Both sexes consume less alcohol if they spend more time working, researchers said on Wednesday, but toiling extra hours makes women crave unhealthy snacks.

"Women who work long hours eat more high-fat and high-sugar snacks, exercise less, drink more caffeine and, if smokers, smoke more than their male colleagues," said Dr. Daryl O'Connor, a researcher at Britain's Leeds University.

"For men, working longer hours has no negative impact on exercise, caffeine intake or smoking," O'Connor said in a statement released by the Economic and Social Research Council, which funded his study.

O'Connor's team of scientists were studying the impact of stress on eating habits. They looked at what causes stress at home and at work and how people react to it.

The results show that one or more stressful events such as making a presentation, a meeting with the boss or missing a deadline was linked to eating more between-meal snacks and fewer or smaller portions of fruits and vegetables.

"Stress disrupts people's normal eating habits," he said.

The people who were most vulnerable were so-called emotional eaters.

"These individuals have higher levels of vulnerability and tend to turn to food as an escape from self-awareness," O'Connor said.

"When they feel anxious or emotionally aroused or negative about themselves, they try to avoid these negative feelings by turning their attention to food."



Stay calm at work to protect blood pressure
Job stress worse for men, researchers report

Updated: 8:09 a.m. PT June 30, 2006
NEW YORK - Workers who are under constant stress may start to show it in their blood pressure readings, researchers reported.

In a study that followed more than 6,719 white-collar workers for 7.5 years, Canadian researchers found that those with high job demands, and reported low levels of social support in the office, tended to have higher blood pressure than other workers.

The relationship was stronger among men than among women. As a group, men with high job strain had higher blood pressure and were at greater risk of blood pressure increases over time than those with less stressful work.

In addition, the study found that men and women who said they got little support from their bosses and co-workers seemed particularly vulnerable to the blood pressure effects of job strain.

"Our study supports the hypothesis that job strain, particularly in workers with low social support at work, may contribute to increased blood pressure," lead author Dr. Chantal Guimont of Laval University in Quebec told Reuters Health.

She and her colleagues report the findings in the American Journal of Public Health.

Many studies have examined the link between cardiovascular disease and job strain -- typically defined as work with high psychological demands, but with little independence or decision-making authority. Evidence suggests that chronically stressed workers are more likely to develop heart disease, but studies looking specifically at blood pressure effects have yielded mixed results.

Theoretically, job stress might raise blood pressure by chronically activating the nervous and cardiovascular systems. On the other hand, stressed workers may have little time or energy for exercise, may eat poorly or have higher smoking rates -- though, in this study, the researchers accounted for factors like smoking, exercise habits and weight.

According to Guimont, the current findings support the notion that curbing job strain could make a difference in some workers' blood pressure. For example, she said, employers might give workers more support or more say in how they accomplish their tasks, loosen up deadline pressure, or offer more chances for learning and growth.

Studies are underway, Guimont noted, to see whether such measures work.

Main / Monkey prostitution
Jul 06, 2006, 07:46 PM
Would love to see the reaction to this over at NOW.  lol  I thought it was funny given how feminists were so quick to trumpet bonnobo(sp?) monkeys and their lesbian tendencies, and what a utopia that apparently heralds.  Here's the real deal, ladies...


June 5, 2005
Monkey Business

Keith Chen's Monkey Research

Adam Smith, the founder of classical economics, was certain that humankind's knack for monetary exchange belonged to humankind alone. ''Nobody ever saw a dog make a fair and deliberate exchange of one bone for another with another dog,'' he wrote. ''Nobody ever saw one animal by its gestures and natural cries signify to another, this is mine, that yours; I am willing to give this for that.'' But in a clean and spacious laboratory at Yale-New Haven Hospital, seven capuchin monkeys have been taught to use money, and a comparison of capuchin behavior and human behavior will either surprise you very much or not at all, depending on your view of humans.

The capuchin is a New World monkey, brown and cute, the size of a scrawny year-old human baby plus a long tail. ''The capuchin has a small brain, and it's pretty much focused on food and sex,'' says Keith Chen, a Yale economist who, along with Laurie Santos, a psychologist, is exploiting these natural desires -- well, the desire for food at least -- to teach the capuchins to buy grapes, apples and Jell-O. ''You should really think of a capuchin as a bottomless stomach of want,'' Chen says. ''You can feed them marshmallows all day, they'll throw up and then come back for more.''

When most people think of economics, they probably conjure images of inflation charts or currency rates rather than monkeys and marshmallows. But economics is increasingly being recognized as a science whose statistical tools can be put to work on nearly any aspect of modern life. That's because economics is in essence the study of incentives, and how people -- perhaps even monkeys -- respond to those incentives. A quick scan of the current literature reveals that top economists are studying subjects like prostitution, rock 'n' roll, baseball cards and media bias.

Chen proudly calls himself a behavioral economist, a member of a growing subtribe whose research crosses over into psychology, neuroscience and evolutionary biology. He began his monkey work as a Harvard graduate student, in concert with Marc Hauser, a psychologist. The Harvard monkeys were cotton-top tamarins, and the experiments with them concerned altruism. Two monkeys faced each other in adjoining cages, each equipped with a lever that would release a marshmallow into the other monkey's cage. The only way for one monkey to get a marshmallow was for the other monkey to pull its lever. So pulling the lever was to some degree an act of altruism, or at least of strategic cooperation.

The tamarins were fairly cooperative but still showed a healthy amount of self-interest: over repeated encounters with fellow monkeys, the typical tamarin pulled the lever about 40 percent of the time. Then Hauser and Chen heightened the drama. They conditioned one tamarin to always pull the lever (thus creating an altruistic stooge) and another to never pull the lever (thus creating a selfish jerk). The stooge and the jerk were then sent to play the game with the other tamarins. The stooge blithely pulled her lever over and over, never failing to dump a marshmallow into the other monkey's cage. Initially, the other monkeys responded in kind, pulling their own levers 50 percent of the time. But once they figured out that their partner was a pushover (like a parent who buys her kid a toy on every outing whether the kid is a saint or a devil), their rate of reciprocation dropped to 30 percent -- lower than the original average rate. The selfish jerk, meanwhile, was punished even worse. Once her reputation was established, whenever she was led into the experimenting chamber, the other tamarins ''would just go nuts,'' Chen recalls. ''They'd throw their feces at the wall, walk into the corner and sit on their hands, kind of sulk.''

Chen is a hyperverbal, sharp-dressing 29-year-old with spiky hair. The son of Chinese immigrants, he had an itinerant upbringing in the rural Midwest. As a Stanford undergraduate, he was a de facto Marxist before being seduced, quite accidentally, by economics. He may be the only economist conducting monkey experiments, which puts him at slight odds with his psychologist collaborators (who are more interested in behavior itself than in the incentives that produce the behavior) as well as with certain economist colleagues. ''I love interest rates, and I'm willing to talk about their kind of stuff all the time,'' he says, speaking of his fellow economists. ''But I can tell that they're biting their tongues when I tell them what I'm working on.''

It is sometimes unclear, even to Chen himself, exactly what he is working on. When he and Santos, his psychologist collaborator, began to teach the Yale capuchins to use money, he had no pressing research theme. The essential idea was to give a monkey a dollar and see what it did with it. The currency Chen settled on was a silver disc, one inch in diameter, with a hole in the middle -- ''kind of like Chinese money,'' he says. It took several months of rudimentary repetition to teach the monkeys that these tokens were valuable as a means of exchange for a treat and would be similarly valuable the next day. Having gained that understanding, a capuchin would then be presented with 12 tokens on a tray and have to decide how many to surrender for, say, Jell-O cubes versus grapes. This first step allowed each capuchin to reveal its preferences and to grasp the concept of budgeting.

Then Chen introduced price shocks and wealth shocks. If, for instance, the price of Jell-O fell (two cubes instead of one per token), would the capuchin buy more Jell-O and fewer grapes? The capuchins responded rationally to tests like this -- that is, they responded the way most readers of The Times would respond. In economist-speak, the capuchins adhered to the rules of utility maximization and price theory: when the price of something falls, people tend to buy more of it.

Chen next introduced a pair of gambling games and set out to determine which one the monkeys preferred. In the first game, the capuchin was given one grape and, dependent on a coin flip, either retained the original grape or won a bonus grape. In the second game, the capuchin started out owning the bonus grape and, once again dependent on a coin flip, either kept the two grapes or lost one. These two games are in fact the same gamble, with identical odds, but one is framed as a potential win and the other as a potential loss.

How did the capuchins react? They far preferred to take a gamble on the potential gain than the potential loss. This is not what an economics textbook would predict. The laws of economics state that these two gambles, because they represent such small stakes, should be treated equally.

So, does Chen's gambling experiment simply reveal the cognitive limitations of his small-brained subjects? Perhaps not. In similar experiments, it turns out that humans tend to make the same type of irrational decision at a nearly identical rate. Documenting this phenomenon, known as loss aversion, is what helped the psychologist Daniel Kahneman win a Nobel Prize in economics. The data generated by the capuchin monkeys, Chen says, ''make them statistically indistinguishable from most stock-market investors.''

ut do the capuchins actually understand money? Or is Chen simply exploiting their endless appetites to make them perform neat tricks?

Several facts suggest the former. During a recent capuchin experiment that used cucumbers as treats, a research assistant happened to slice the cucumber into discs instead of cubes, as was typical. One capuchin picked up a slice, started to eat it and then ran over to a researcher to see if he could ''buy'' something sweeter with it. To the capuchin, a round slice of cucumber bore enough resemblance to Chen's silver tokens to seem like another piece of currency.

Then there is the stealing. Santos has observed that the monkeys never deliberately save any money, but they do sometimes purloin a token or two during an experiment. All seven monkeys live in a communal main chamber of about 750 cubic feet. For experiments, one capuchin at a time is let into a smaller testing chamber next door. Once, a capuchin in the testing chamber picked up an entire tray of tokens, flung them into the main chamber and then scurried in after them -- a combination jailbreak and bank heist -- which led to a chaotic scene in which the human researchers had to rush into the main chamber and offer food bribes for the tokens, a reinforcement that in effect encouraged more stealing.

Something else happened during that chaotic scene, something that convinced Chen of the monkeys' true grasp of money. Perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic of money, after all, is its fungibility, the fact that it can be used to buy not just food but anything. During the chaos in the monkey cage, Chen saw something out of the corner of his eye that he would later try to play down but in his heart of hearts he knew to be true. What he witnessed was probably the first observed exchange of money for sex in the history of monkeykind. (Further proof that the monkeys truly understood money: the monkey who was paid for sex immediately traded the token in for a grape.)

This is a sensitive subject. The capuchin lab at Yale has been built and maintained to make the monkeys as comfortable as possible, and especially to allow them to carry on in a natural state. The introduction of money was tricky enough; it wouldn't reflect well on anyone involved if the money turned the lab into a brothel. To this end, Chen has taken steps to ensure that future monkey sex at Yale occurs as nature intended it.

But these facts remain: When taught to use money, a group of capuchin monkeys responded quite rationally to simple incentives; responded irrationally to risky gambles; failed to save; stole when they could; used money for food and, on occasion, sex. In other words, they behaved a good bit like the creature that most of Chen's more traditional colleagues study: Homo sapiens.
Leave it to the catty NYT.  I love the last paragraph-

"There is a lot of poverty among older single women, so if men live longer, that's good economically, for women and men," Ms. Hartmann said. "Men are generally happier when they're married. The women may not be happier, but at least they've got more money."

Sure, it's nice to have your husband's pension to spend.  But it's no fun when you have to have him and his pesky breathing and heartbeat around.

Here's the gist of the story- a woman benefits both health-wise and financially from being married and she benefits even more the longer her husband lives.  But none of this can compensate for the toil of fixing your 75 year old husband a sandwich.  :roll:  


Ideas & Trends
The Bell Tolls for the Future Merry Widow
MEN are catching up to women in the life expectancy game; the National Center for Health Statistics reports this month that the gap between them has shrunk to five years, the narrowest since 1946. If current trends continue, in 50 years men and women will live the same length of time.

This is better news for men than for women, if you believe some economists and therapists. It's not just the extra years; it's all those extra meals to prepare.

By necessity, women have gotten used to a life lived for long periods without men. They have had the advantage in life expectancy since the late 19th century, when overall longevity started to climb. More than men, women have developed strong friendships to support them in their frailest hours. They have forced doctors to pay attention to their health concerns. They no longer have to cater to men. Travel companies now cater to their interests.

"Women don't need men as much as men need women," said John Gray, the therapist and author of, most famously, "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus."

But for all that, consider how women would be better off.

Men living longer means women are less likely to suffer the fate that Miranda from "Sex and the City" so feared: dying alone with only the cat to rake over her rotting bones. With the existing gap, women are more likely than men to be widowed -- 71 percent of people over the age of 85 are women, and the majority of them will have been married. And being alone increases their risk of dying or getting sick. No one is there to help when they fall; they eat less, and poorly.

"Even given the limited capacity of men, having a surviving spouse is going to mean that women do not go as early to nursing homes when they have chronic illnesses," said Ronald D. Lee, an economist and the director of the Center on the Economics and Demography of Aging at the University of California, Berkeley.

And a shorter widowhood means women will be better off financially, largely because, as Heidi Hartmann, a labor economist and the president of the Institute for Women's Policy Research, said, "Money attaches to the men."

Men, typically the higher wage earners, get bigger Social Security checks. And if the couple is living on his checks alone, she gets less when he dies. The surviving spouse's cost of living is about 80 percent what the couple's was, economists estimate, but the Social Security payments decline to about 65 percent.

Men are much more likely to have pensions, too, leaving women dependent on them, and one-third of men, Ms. Hartmann said, do not leave theirs to their wives. (That number used to be higher, she said, until wives were required to sign off on the deal.)

But men and women growing old together is not always easy.

"Men have this expectation that women should take care of them," Dr. Gray said. "And she has her own expectations, that she should be there for him."

Particularly after retirement, she is not used to having him around quite so much. "It's different taking care of him for dinner, as opposed to him being home all the time, and expecting her to make every meal," Dr. Gray said.

Though some may object to the assumption that sex roles will be this traditional by 2040, recent studies have shown that among husbands and wives who both work, the woman still does the much larger share of the housework. As one Connecticut woman in her 70's was heard to retort recently when her husband asked if they were ready to move to an assisted-living facility, "You've had assisted living for 40 years."

This dynamic is reflected in the statistics: men are four times as likely as women to remarry after the death of a spouse, experts on aging say. (Men who divorce also remarry faster; within three years, compared with nine for women.) They're looking for love, Dr. Gray said, but they're also looking for lunch.

Marriage lowers everyone's risk of death, Professor Lee said, but the benefits go mostly to men; women lower their risk only slightly by marrying. Similarly, a man's risk of death increases sharply after the death of a spouse; a wife's does only negligibly.

"Women are very helpful for men," he said. "Men are not very helpful for women as spouses."

Women not only do fine despite a spouse's death, they may even do better.

Even though the facts that the author just provided contradict this.

"In married couples, women tend to be the ones who manage the social sphere," said Laura L. Carstensen, a professor of psychology at Stanford University and director of the Life-span Development Laboratory there. "They're the ones who make dinner plans and invite friends over for weekends. So a man loses a social network, whereas a woman continues to make plans and see people."

People have traditionally felt sorry for older widows, thinking they had so few prospects for remarrying, she said. The truth is, they may not want to remarry.

"They're the ones taking care of everyone; they've often taken care of a frail husband, and doing it again isn't necessarily appealing."

Then there are the disputes over sex. Dr. Gray said a woman's sex drive increases as she ages, while a man's declines. But then, is Viagra upsetting that balance, putting men in retirement homes permanently on the prowl?

On that count, at least, things may even out. And that may be true over all.

"There is a lot of poverty among older single women, so if men live longer, that's good economically, for women and men," Ms. Hartmann said. "Men are generally happier when they're married. The women may not be happier, but at least they've got more money."
Main / Seattle is getting hosed...
Feb 05, 2006, 07:27 PM
Where the f*ck did they pick up this officiating crew?
..that schools really are failing boys.  It's a start.


Boy Trouble
by Richard Whitmire
Post date: 01.18.06
Issue date: 01.23.06
t's been a year since Harvard President Larry Summers uttered some unfortunate speculations about why so few women hold elite professorships in the sciences. During Summers's speech, a biologist, overwhelmed by the injustice of it all, nearly collapsed with what George F. Will unkindly described as the vapors. Since that odd January day, Summers has been rebuked with a faculty no-confidence vote, untold talk-show hosts have weighed in, and 936 stories about the controversy have appeared in newspapers and magazines (according to LexisNexis). Impressive response, especially considering the modest number of these professorships available.  

Compare that with what happened after the U.S. Department of Education, also about a year ago, released a 100-plus-page report weighing academic progress by gender. The results were bracing. Nearly every chart told the same story. Boys are over 50 percent more likely than girls to repeat grades in elementary school, one-third more likely to drop out of high school, and twice as likely to be identified with a learning disability. The response? Near-total silence.

What's most worrisome are not long-standing gender differences but recent plunges in boys' relative performance. Between 1992 and 2002, the gap by which high school girls outperformed boys on tests in both reading and writing--especially writing--widened significantly. Given the reading and writing demands of today's college curriculum, that means a lot of boys out there are falling well short of being considered "college material." Which is why women now significantly outnumber men on college campuses, a phenomenon familiar enough to any sorority sister seeking a date to the next formal. This June, nearly six out of ten bachelor's degrees awarded will go to women. If the Department of Education's report is any indication, in coming years, this gender gap will grow even larger.

The report illustrates a dramatic and unsolved mystery: At some point in the early '80s, boys' relative academic records and aspirations took a downward turn. So far, no one has come up with a good explanation for this trend, but it's a story that affects millions of boys and their families. And yet, according to LexisNexis, the report was cited by name in only five newspaper and magazine articles.

Not only has there been little media attention to this crisis in boys' education, but there has been surprisingly little research. And the conventional wisdom offered up to explain the problem--boys play too many video games and listen to too much hip-hop music--can't explain a gender slide that's affecting not just the United States but much of the developed West. It also can't explain why boys in a few schools manage to duck the gender gap. But promising new answers have begun to surface--and from some very unlikely places.

hat we know for certain about this mostly ignored gender trend comes from surveys that measure the academic attitudes of teen students. In the early '80s, boys and girls were almost evenly matched in their college ambitions. A decade later, everything had changed. Academic aspirations for girls soared as those of boys pretty much flatlined. And the trend has continued, with girls who say they plan to go to college or graduate school now far outnumbering boys. Among female high school seniors, 62.4 percent said they definitely planned to graduate from a four-year college program, compared with 51.1 percent of male high school seniors, according to a 2001 survey by the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research.  

A few things about this mystery are known. The gender gap between boys' and girls' academic achievement has long existed in the black community. Nearly twice as many black women as black men attend college, according to the latest numbers from the Department of Education. But, in recent years, the slippage broadened to the white middle class. American Council on Education researcher Jacqueline King has produced data showing startling shifts among middle-class white college students. Only eight years ago, the campus gender balance for this group (incomes $30,000 to $70,000) was an even 50-50. As of last year, the proportion of white men had dropped to 43 percent. In middle-class suburbs, it's common to hear parents wondering out loud why their daughters go to the colleges of their choice while their sons struggle to get into second-tier schools.

What's happening in those homes is itself something of a puzzle. Patrick Welsh, an English teacher at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C., offered the outside world a glimpse in a piece he wrote for The Washington Post in 2003. Welsh described his bafflement over privileged white boys who felt obligated to party too much and study too little. Their most obvious role models for how seriously to take life appeared to be popular rap artists.

But, as Welsh pointed out, even these underperforming boys nearly always landed a spot in some college. That's due to one of the best-kept secrets in college admissions today: the affirmative action campaign to recruit men. Most admissions directors sifting through stacks of applications from men and women can only sigh at the contrast. The average male applicant has far lower grades, writes a sloppy essay, and sports few impressive extracurriculars. Those admissions directors face a choice: Either admit less-qualified men or see the campus gender balance slip below 40 percent male, a point at which female applicants begin to look elsewhere.

What little research has been done on this shift in the gender gap falls roughly into two camps--the feminists and the pragmatists. The feminist viewpoint is summarized in "Raising and Educating Healthy Boys: A Report on the Growing Crisis in Boys' Education." This study, performed by the Educational Equity Center at the Academy for Educational Development and published last March, effectively asks: Why can't boys be more like girls? Boys are locked into a masculinity box, the feminist researchers say. Most boys stay inside that box, living by a macho boy code that precludes developing the "language of feelings" needed to express themselves or relate to teachers. Boys who break out of this box are doomed to a life of teasing and being bullied. In other words, young boys never get sufficiently acquainted with their feelings to write A-rated essays.

Expecting boys to become more like girls, however, will strike parents of boys as a bit odd--especially liberal parents who swore they'd never give their children violent toys, only to watch their sons mold clumps of clay into submachine guns.

The pragmatists, mostly male researchers, peer inside the school door and see a feminized world that needs tweaking. Professor Jeffrey Wilhelm, co-author of Reading Don't Fix No Chevys, decries the dearth of boy-friendly reading material. Most literature classes demand that students explore their emotions (not a strong point for boys).

Other pragmatists point to the simple things: Basing grades on turning in homework on time guarantees lower grades for boys. Studies consistently show boys have more trouble than girls turning in homework on time. Some educators and parents explain this by saying that many boys simply forget or decline to turn in completed homework. Here's the boy-thinking: If I answered the homework question to my satisfaction, the task is done. Why turn it in? If you're the parent of a girl, that may sound bizarre. It isn't. Parents of slumping boys know differently.

he problem with these theories is that they can't explain the rare cases in which schools have managed to keep boys' learning on par with that of girls. The Education Trust, a Washington-based education reform group that looks after the education interests of less privileged students, scoured the nation for gender success stories and turned up Indian River School District in rural Delaware. Indian River's Frankford Elementary appears to be an unlikely candidate for achieving any sort of academic success, let alone overcoming the gap between boys' and girls' achievement: 76 percent of the students qualify for subsidized lunches, 22 percent land in special education, and 64 percent are either Latino or black. Most of the Latinos are sons and daughters of Mexican agricultural workers who have limited English skills.  

And, yet, here's Frankford's 2004 state report card for fifth-graders: 100 percent of boys and 95 percent of girls meet state reading standards. When I contacted them, school leaders expressed pride at their success in educating poor and minority students but appeared bewildered when told they had conquered the gender gap. Turns out their education strategy had nothing to do with getting boys in touch with their feelings or eliminating late-homework penalties. Rather, the strategy was a roll-up-your-sleeves effort initially sparked by a state campaign to improve literacy skills. Students whose problems were identified early received extra help from teachers. A special eye was kept on black boys. Most important, no excuses were accepted--when boys fell behind, teachers weren't allowed to consider that the norm.

While the national research into this issue is dismal, a handful of individual researchers have turned up some important discoveries. The culprit they identify has little to do with the influence of anti-academic hip-hop music, too many video games, or the sometimes exasperating tendency of boys to be boys. The key appears to be literacy skills.

Ken Hilton is an unlikely pioneer in gender-gap research. Hilton is a statistician who works out of a small cinderblock office in the administration building of the Rush-Henrietta schools in the suburbs of Rochester, New York. Six years ago, then-school board member Dirk Hightower showed up to see his son inducted into the National Honor Society. What he saw was a long line of girls moving across the stage: "I heard nothing but heels clicking," Hightower recalls. Concerned about the obvious gender gap, Hightower asked Hilton what was going on. Hilton couldn't answer Hightower's question, but vowed to get to the bottom of it. Hilton is a pocket-protector kind of guy who arrives at his half-basement office every Sunday to catch up on work. When he promises results, he delivers. Now, six years later, Hilton has some of the best research into the gender gap available anywhere. (Though it hasn't been published or peer-reviewed.) And he seems barely aware of this. I'm the first national reporter even to inquire.

Hilton conducted a series of studies, culminating in the summer of 2004 with a large survey of 21 school districts across New York state. Twelve were blue-collar and middle-class districts just like Rush-Henrietta. Another nine were among the wealthiest school districts in the state. Here is what Hilton found: In the first group, the blue-collar and middle-class schools, girls not only excelled in verbal skills but each year put a little more academic distance between themselves and the boys. Even in math, long thought to be a male stronghold, girls did better. But the real leap for girls was in reading. Another significant find: In these districts, the big hit boys take in reading happens in middle school, as they hit puberty. That's when a modest gap in verbal skills evident in elementary school doubles in size. As for the wealthy schools, more on them later.

Combine Hilton's local research with national neuroscience research, and you arrive at this: The brains of men and women are very different. Last spring, Scientific American summed up the best gender and brain research, including a study demonstrating that women have greater neuron density in the temporal lobe cortex, the region of the brain associated with verbal skills. Now we've reached the heart of the mystery. Girls have genetic advantages that make them better readers, especially early in life. And, now, society is favoring verbal skills. Even in math, the emphasis has shifted away from guy-friendly problems involving quick calculations to word and logic problems.

Increasingly, teachers ask students to keep written journals, even as early as kindergarten. What gets written isn't polished prose, but it is important training, say teachers, some of whom rely on the book Kid Writing, which advocates the use of writing to teach children basic skills in a host of subjects. The teachers are only doing their jobs, preparing their students for a work world that has moved rapidly away from manufacturing and agriculture and into information-based work. It's not that schools have changed their ways to favor girls; it's that they haven't changed their ways to help boys adjust to this new world.

Suddenly, the anecdotal evidence becomes obvious. Open the door of any ninth-grade "academy" that some school districts run--the clump of students predicted to sink in high school--and you'll see a potential football team. Nearly all guys. Ninth grade is where boys' verbal deficit becomes an albatross that stymies further male academic achievement. That's the year guys run into the fruits of the school-reform movement that date back to the 1989 governors' summit in Charlottesville, Virginia, where Democrats and Republicans vowed to shake up schools. One outcome of the summit is that, starting in ninth grade, every student now gets a verbally drenched curriculum that is supposed to better prepare them for college. Good goal, but it's leaving boys in the dust.

The findings of the other researchers all play roles here. The feminists are right to finger macho, anti-reading attitudes of boys, especially in blue-collar districts. Patrick Welsh isn't wrong to cite the influence of hip-hop music. It's just that these are lesser players within a larger landscape.

Those who continue to argue that toxic American culture is to blame may be unaware that this is a phenomenon that afflicts many post-industrial Western countries. A 2002 study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development found low academic performance to be more of a problem among boys than girls in 19 of 27 countries. Special problems were found in Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. In 21 of the 27 countries, the number of women graduating from university exceeded the number of men.

But why are some boys faring better than others and a few schools managing to level the gender playing field? Hilton's research on the wealthiest schools is revealing. Girls still do better in verbal skills in those districts. But Hilton discovered an important distinction. When the wealthy boys enter middle school, they don't lose ground. And that holds steady through high school.

Why the smaller verbal gender gaps in upper-income families? Hilton can only feel his way on this one, in part by drawing lessons from his own family, which teems with educators. At nights and on weekends, Hilton saw his father reading, just as the boys hitting puberty in the wealthiest districts see their well-educated fathers reading. If your father reads, it's not viewed as a sissy thing, as it's seen by many blue-collar students. Not only would that explain why the verbal gap doesn't widen for boys in the wealthiest districts, but it would also explain why the Harvards and Princetons and Stanfords have no trouble drawing talented men. Those schools run close to a 50-50 gender balance among undergraduates.

eversing the academic underachievement among most boys may require an old-fashioned assault on poor reading skills. Frankford Elementary managed that, but even Indian River boys begin to lose ground in middle school, the black hole of U.S. education. Maybe Maryland has a partial answer. The state has been breaking out its test-score data by gender since 1992, which is why Maryland Superintendent of Schools Nancy Grasmick is dismayed by the gender gaps she sees--72 percent of girls read at a proficient or advanced level by eighth grade, compared with 61 percent of boys.  

Here's part of the Grasmick plan: Take existing comic books and graphic novels deemed to cover academic disciplines and sprinkle them around classrooms. Let the boys believe they're pulling a fast one on the teachers by grabbing a quick read. Sounds bizarre, but it's based on good hunches: Boys who become successful readers in high school often attribute that success to making a transition from comic books to school books in late elementary school. Why not offer curriculum-as-comic books? It just might work. It also might not. But at least Maryland is trying, which is better than most states.

Another solution lies with teachers' colleges, which, to date, have been part of the problem. Michael Gurian, author of Boys and Girls Learn Differently!, says his survey of education classes reveals that 99 percent fail to offer courses on biological learning differences. There is decent research on this, but it is rarely passed along to teachers.

Any solution to the problem must begin by acknowledging that it exists. And, unfortunately, the crisis in boys' education is woefully underexposed. Partly, that is understandable. Reporters look around their world and see men dominant in academics, business, and politics. What's to worry about? Plenty, as it turns out. Nearly all those male leaders now at the top of their field earned at least a bachelor's degree. And, in today's information world, a bachelor's degree is just a starting point. But, each year, fewer and fewer men make it to that starting line. That's a problem that merits attention--at least more than five articles.

Richard Whitmire , a USA Today editorial writer, researched this issue while a fellow with the Journalism Fellowships in Child and Family Policy at the University of Maryland.

Main / Breasts not bombs
Nov 05, 2005, 09:00 PM
Living out here in the Bay Area, I've seen a few stories about this group, and the narcissism doesn't surprise me a bit.  Aging hippies attempting to recapture their Earth Goddessness-shocking.  Who wants to bet that every single one of them calls herself a feminist?  With that in mind, I find their preferred form of protest amusingly hypocritical, especially in light of the recent A&F tee shirt blow up over shirts that read "Who needs brains when I have these" across the chest.  
The funniest thing is that this group actually argues that their breasts are the only effective tool of their protest; that effectiveness, philosophy and strategy(their words) of their protests are rendered useless absent naked breasts.  lol   Personally, I think the ladies took one too many hits of acid in the 60's and are having Woodstock flashbacks.

For the life of me, I cannot imagine how anyone could possibly take them seriously.

War protesters sue for right to bare breasts
A hearing is set over CHP warning that nudity at a Capitol rally will lead to arrests.
By Denny Walsh -- Bee Staff Writer
Published 2:15 am PST Friday, November 4, 2005
Mendocino County women who have been baring their breasts at various venues to protest the war in Iraq are in Sacramento federal court seeking an order prohibiting the California Highway Patrol from arresting them during a planned noon demonstration Monday at the Capitol.
The women's group, Breasts Not Bombs, is suing CHP Commissioner Mike Brown and two of his officers over a warning that if the women demonstrate while topless, they will be arrested and charged with indecent exposure and disorderly conduct.

The group claims it also was warned by the CHP that if its members are convicted of indecent exposure they may have to register as sex offenders.

It also claims the CHP said its admonition did not apply to male members of the group, who are free to go topless during the demonstration.

A court declaration of Sherry Glaser, a member of the group and its spokeswoman, says the planned political protest "focuses primarily, though not exclusively, on various initiatives (on Tuesday's ballot) we oppose that Governor Schwarzenegger supports."

"The organization recognizes that women's breasts are a powerful tool and carry with them significant social, political and cultural content," Glaser's declaration says. "Clearly, the use of a woman's breasts to promote political causes is efficient and worthy of protection.
(why am I picturing a Groucho Marx figure making this argument, waving a cigar and raising his eyebrows?  too funny)

"Neither I nor my fellow Breasts Not Bombs members wish to be arrested, nor do we relish the prospect of having to register as sex offenders. Clearly, we are political protesters, not sex fiends," her declaration says.

The group has taken its topless anti-war message to a handful of Mendocino County sites, Union Square in San Francisco, a Washington, D.C., rally, and outside the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat newspaper.

There were no arrests at those protests.

The group's San Francisco attorney, Matthew Kumin, claims in the lawsuit that arresting his clients would deprive them of their constitutional rights to free expression and equal protection under the law.

"The threatened action will also negatively impact members of the public, who will be deprived of the free exchange of ideas and concepts around the initiatives and the Iraq war," Kumin wrote.

U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. is scheduled to hear arguments today on Kumin's motion for a temporary restraining order precluding arrests of Breasts Not Bombs members.

The group's practice "consists in the main of linking political protest with toplessness by its female members," the attorney said in the motion. "Absent that element, the organization's effectiveness, its philosophy and its strategies are completely compromised."
:lol:   (not that we're bimbos, mind you)

In a letter to the CHP last week, Kumin proposed that the protest area "be surrounded by a bolt of cloth, so that those who want to watch the protest can do so easily, and those who merely walk by would not see the nude protest."

The attorney also said his clients are willing to post signs explaining what is going on, thus giving people an opportunity to make an informed decision whether to watch.

Glaser's declaration says, "There are numerous reasons our expressive protests include toplessness.

"For one thing, (it) is meant to convey the hypocrisy of the government and its claims of decency.

"The organization certainly uses irony - what many believe is shameful and immoral to this group is wholesome, decent and beautiful.

"The organization's members also mean to contrast their view of their breasts as natural and decent with what they view as the indecent initiatives that Gov. Schwarzenegger has proposed for this special election, and the obscenity of an illegal war in Iraq waged by the federal government.

"The initiatives aim, for example, to restrict abortion rights and to restrict the use of union members' dues," the declaration says.

"These proposed policies violate my principles and the principles of people such as the other Breasts Not Bombs members, who consider themselves progressives." ( check out these sweet 60 year old nipples...)
lol....this was inspired by the other feminist PC thread.  I've always loved feminist efforts to "reclaim" words to thwart the power of the "patriarchy"(womyn, herstory...etc.), but do they ever take the time to actually understand the words before looking like idiots?


The word boycott is derived from Captain Charles Boycott, an English evicting land agent in Ireland who was subject to social excommunication organized by the Irish Land League in 1880.

According to an account in the book The Fall of Feudalism in Ireland by Michael Davitt, the term was coined by Fr. John O' Malley from County Mayo to 'signify ostracism applied to a landlord or agent like Boycott'.

Boycott, an agent of Lord Erne in County Mayo, was unable to hire anyone to harvest his crops. Eventually 50 Irish Unionists were organized. They were escorted to and from Claremorris (the last part of their journey) by 2,000 British Army troops). This despite the fact that the complete excommunication meant that he was actually in no danger of being harmed.

After the harvest, the boycott was successfully continued and on December 1, 1880 Captain Boycott left his agency and, with his family, retired to England.

:lol:    Does that sound gendercentric- an event reserved for boys?  
...well, who cares?!   All's fair in love and idiocy.


Student 'girlcott' protests Abercrombie t-shirts

November 2, 2005

With a few words on their T-shirts, Abercrombie & Fitch lets young women send a message: "Who needs a brain when you have these?"

A group of female high school students have a message for A&F: Stop degrading us.

The Allegheny County (Pa.) Girls have started a boycott--or girlcott, as they're calling it--of the retailer. The campaign, conceived three weeks ago during the group's monthly meeting, went national Tuesday morning on NBC's "Today" show.

"We're telling [girls] to think about the fact that they're being degraded," Emma Blackman-Mathis, the 16-year-old co-chair of the group, told RedEye on Tuesday. "We're all going to come together in this one effort to fight this message that we're getting from pop culture."

Abercrombie has been a lightning rod for criticism. In 2003, a catalog containing photos of topless women and bare-bottomed men provoked so much outrage that the company pulled the publication.

Last year, after the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team failed to win a gold medal, the company sold T-shirts with the phrase "L is for loser" next to a picture of a gymnast on the rings. Those shirts were pulled from the racks after USA Gymastics called for a boycott.

While Abercrombie backed down in those cases, it show no signs of doing so this time.

"Our clothing appeals to a wide variety of customers. These particular T-shirts have been very popular among adult women to whom they are marketed," a company spokesman said in a statement.

News of the girlcott hadn't reached Tawana Clark, 20, who was applying for a job at the Abercrombie & Fitch store in Water Tower Place on Tuesday. But she doesn't think the protest will work.

"I think it's only older people that have a problem with it," she said. "Teenagers don't have a problem with it."

Clark sees the shirts as funny, not offensive.

"It's not to be taken seriously," she said.

Kristine Campbell, 20, of Lincoln Park won't wear the T-shirts. Although she's not offended by them, she doesn't think much of girls who wear them.

"It tells me that they're shallow and that's all they care about," said Campbell, who was also applying for a job at A&F on Tuesday.

"There's not much substance to that person if you have to wear something like that."

The aim of the girlcott is to convince people that the T-shirts are offensive, but young people don't care if they are, according to David Krafft, senior vice president of Chicago-based Graziano, Krafft and Zale Advertising.

"You figure they're appealing to a younger audience demographic and (young people) are going to want go for brands that are more cutting edge, or viewed as more cutting edge," Krafft said. "So it's just going to be a benefit anyway to Abercrombie & Fitch."

The attention from this boycott is likely to help Abercrombie's image, and its audience will be attracted to the controversy, said Steve Bassill, president of Libertyville-based QDI strategies, a marketing consulting firm.

"That's been their whole strategy, isn't it, to be radical?" Bassill asked. "I think that's what we've seen for quite a while from them."

Krafft says the "Today" show appearance was tantamount to free advertising.

According to Chicago-based media company Starcom USA, a 30-second commercial on "Today" costs approximately $58,000.

The girlcott girls were on for several minutes. The girlcott almost is "playing into their hands," Bassill said.

Heather Arnett, adviser for the girls' group, said it doesn't matter if Abercrombie gets free advertising. They're already a giant as far as she's concerned. What matters is empowering young women, she said, who in turn serve as examples to other young women.

"A week ago, Katie Couric knew who Abercrombie & Fitch was, but she didn't know who Emma Blackman-Mathis was," Arnett said. "A bunch of teenage girls are being interviewed by national media about what they think. And that is the news."

Blackman-Mathis admits that, at first glance, the T-shirts are a little funny.

But the more she looked at them, the less amusing they were. She's still stunned to have appeared on national TV and is hopeful the message will reach young girls.

"Worst-case scenario, I just want girls to at least think about everything that they buy," Blackman-Mathis said. "Think about the message that it conveys to themselves and other people when they wear it."

Her best-case scenario?

"They would stand up and say something for themselves and for girls."
..of assault but doesn't seem to exonerate them in cases of paternity?...

not that this guy should be spared...


Ex-Pizza Deliveryman Accused of Killing 10
Nov 02 12:40 AM US/Eastern
Email this story    

Associated Press Writer


A former pizza deliveryman accused of being one of the city's most prolific serial killers was ordered Tuesday to stand trial on charges of murdering 10 women, two of whom were pregnant.

Superior Court Judge William R. Pounders ruled during a preliminary hearing that there was sufficient cause to believe Chester D. Turner committed the slayings that occurred from 1987 to 1998.

Turner, 38, is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence in an unrelated rape case. Pounders set a Nov. 15 arraignment date.

Turner's DNA was matched to sperm cell evidence from the bodies of all the victims, said Carl Matthies of the police department's scientific investigations division. The likelihood of the genetic profile belonging to someone other than Turner was one in one-quintillion, Matthies said.

Defense attorney John Tyre said outside court that DNA does not prove murder. "If it is his DNA it indicates he had sex with these women some time prior to them dying," Tyre said.

Deputy medical examiner Lisa Scheinin testified that all 10 women were strangled, nine had cocaine in their systems, one was 6 1/2 months pregnant and one was between four and five months pregnant.

Prosecutors have not said whether they would seek the death penalty if Turner is convicted. In addition to 10 counts of murder, Turner is accused of the special circumstances of multiple murder and murder committed during a rape.

The slayings remained unsolved until a cold case homicide unit began looking into them. In 2002, Turner agreed to submit a DNA sample as part of a no-contest plea to the unrelated rape charge. A detective allegedly found that it matched evidence found in two murders and began looking for more.
Main / Another anti-Bush video
Oct 29, 2005, 02:27 PM
This is kinda funny.  I have to hand it to them.  Most of them handle the act of having their curlies ripped out better than I would.  lol
Main / so funny...bud light institute...
Oct 29, 2005, 02:41 AM
too funny..ahhh...the patriarchy...
Main / The White Sox are going to the Series!
Oct 16, 2005, 08:42 PM
Main / Equality of parental leave in the U.K.
Oct 09, 2005, 09:02 PM
Am I reading this correctly?  Is this actually viewed as a fair offer?,11812,1588721,00.html


Fathers to be offered six months leave

Patrick Wintour
Monday October 10, 2005
The Guardian

The government is to announce that fathers should have the right to six months' unpaid paternity leave independent of the decision of the female partner to take leave.
Ministers regard the move as central to making fathers feel more responsible for the upbringing of their children. They believe it also reflects the importance of parents being present in the crucial first stages of their child's life.

Previously the government had been proposing that the mother and father should be entitled to share the leave but the plan, common in Scandinavia, is now deemed unworkable in Britain.

Critics will claim the new rights will rarely be taken up since no additional state or company financial support will be provided.
At present fathers are entitled to two weeks' paid paternity leave set at a minimum government support of 106 a week. A father taking the full six months off would be entitled to take their company to an industrial tribunal if the firm refused to give them back their original job.

Previously trailed maternity rights will also be confirmed this week allowing mothers to enjoy nine months paid maternity leave from April 2007, and a year from 2009.

huh?  :?

Some of the proposals were immediately attacked by the CBI and other employers groups as deeply worrying. Separate rights for carers are also being planned.

Business will be seeking exemptions for small firms and requiring lengthy continuous employment record before the rights kick in. The CBI's deputy director general John Cridland said: "This will put a lot of pressure on business and we have huge concerns.

"The new right for fathers is very different from shared maternity leave which was a better option for business".

But the plan is intended to go beyond bringing a better work life balance to families, and seems to be part of a fundamental rethink in Labour about morality crime and the role of the family.

The children's minister, Beverley Hughes, will next week attend the launch of a book from the Institute of Public Policy Research thinktank entitled Daddy Dearest? Public Policy and Active Fatherhood.

The book will claim: "Fathers are often the missing link in policy debates about how better outcomes for children and greater gender equality can be delivered."

It admits that active fatherhood raises many fundamental questions for public policy makers.

...and after men decline to take them up on this completely ridiculous offer, men will again be branded as being uninterested in taking part in raising their children.  
How many mothers will encourage these fathers to take 6 months off unpaid when the birth of the child increases their need for financial resources?
Main / Hilarious Triumph video
Oct 02, 2005, 01:29 PM
I'm probably the only person here who hadn't seen this already....
Main / This kid is amazing...
Sep 28, 2005, 08:29 PM
Main / Invoking the Clinton Precedent
Sep 24, 2005, 11:52 PM
Very good piece of writing..,0,983371.story?coll=la-news-comment-opinions

Invoking the Clinton Precedent
By Ronald A. Cass

September 24, 2005

AS WE AWAIT President Bush's nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, all the talk is about precedent. Roe vs. Wade: What does a judge do when a precedent is based on shaky legal ground? The Ginsburg Precedent: How much does a nominee have to answer, and how do you draw the line? Yet the most important precedent hasn't been mentioned: the Clinton Precedent.

To refresh our memories, President Clinton had a chance to make two appointments to the Supreme Court. The first came with the retirement of Justice Byron White, a conservative who cast one of the two votes against Roe vs. Wade. And just one year before his retirement, White, joining three other justices, dissented in the 5-4 pro-abortion decision in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania vs. Casey.

With the court so closely divided, what did Clinton do to preserve the balance? Did he replace White with another conservative, someone equally clear that there is no constitutional protection for abortion? He chose the former general counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union, a leading liberal law scholar whose special interest was women's rights: Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Any question how close she was going to be to White?

The president did what presidents always do. He picked someone he thought would be a good justice according to his own views. He didn't worry about preserving the balance on the court, and he certainly didn't worry about maintaining the court's division over abortion.

With a 56-44 Democratic majority in the Senate, Clinton didn't worry about much other than replacing White with someone his party approved of and the GOP would credit as sufficiently accomplished to do the job. Ginsburg, the strongly pro-choice liberal judge and former law professor, fit that bill. Whether or not you like her positions on legal issues, Ginsburg is a smart, skillful lawyer and judge. And she garnered 96 of 99 votes cast on her confirmation -- including the overwhelming majority of pro-life Republicans.

Of course, today, with a 55-45 Republican majority in the Senate and a Republican in the White House, liberal Democrats are singing a different tune. Now, they say, we need the president to be sensitive to keeping the court as it is, to preserving the division on issues such as abortion.

It's understandable that liberal Democrats would care about the Supreme Court. For more than half a century, the court has been pivotal in reducing the authority of the states, increasing the power of the federal government, eroding protections of property rights, tilting the legal balance from favoring religious worship to favoring atheism, and finding rights in the Constitution that no creative thinker in the nation's first 175 years ever imagined.

Much of the liberal political agenda that could not muster support at the polls has been achieved through the courts. Would voters sanction government taking private property from one person to give to another? Would they approve banning the Pledge of Allegiance as an unconstitutional intrusion of God into our public life?

Unless courts keep altering legal rules to facilitate liberal causes, Democrats label judges conservative activists, and view anyone who supports them as wanting to take us back to the days of segregated lunch counters and back-alley abortions. It's a mantra that worked against Robert Bork, so why not use it against everyone else?

It's time to return to the understanding that presidents get to pick the judges they want, as long as they're qualified for the job, and that senators are voting not on whether a nominee conforms to their preferences but on whether he or she shows the competence and temperament necessary to the judicial role. It's time to recognize the Clinton Precedent as the benchmark for what presidents do.

RONALD A. CASS, president of a legal consulting firm in Great Falls, Va., is dean emeritus of Boston University School of Law and co-chairman of the Committee for Justice, which promotes constitutionalist judicial nominees.